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I have been caregiver to my mom for almost 3 years now. During the majority of that time my girlfriend has been living with me and assisting with exercise, bathing, meals, shopping, etc. Still I shouldered the lion's share of these chores and others because she is MY mom after all. In the course of our relationship we have had our share of ups and downs just like any other couple, however over the last 6 months or so, I have noticed that she tends to be less "involved", almost as though she is a guest. She used to clean up the kitchen after I cook, but that doesn't happen any more. The floors won't get swept or mopped unless I ask her to do it or I do it myself. Trash won't get emptied unless I empty it. As a matter of fact, she walked right past a bag of trash on her way out the door this past weekend!! I could go on about some other things but essentially, I feel as though she could be contributing more since she is practically living here with me. And when I say contributing more, I'm speaking of those daily/weekly things that keep a household going. Not to mention the work to be done outdoors! The things that she does do I am grateful for, but there is so much to do. When we have spoken about these things before, she swears that she is doing a lot more than I give credit for and that she is giving me her all. Unfortunately I'm at the point that I feel like I might as well be there alone and take care of mom by myself. I have no family here so I'm it.

On top of that, mom insists that I pay my girlfriend so I give her a stipend every month on behalf of mom.

Am I being fair? Am I expecting too much from someone who is supposed to be my significant other?

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Hey Flyer, if it don't work out with the current sig other get the next one house broke fore he becomes the next S O. Longer road test.........
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Your girlfriend does a lot already. She sounds like a really good lady and you are a very lucky man.
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Not her household, not her mother and not your wife. Your expectations toward your girlfriend are way over the top. I am surprised she is still pitching in helping you. Me, I would have been long gone quite a while back.
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Windy, loved it when you wrote " I was housebroken early on".

As for how some of us gals wound up with such lazy guys, guess it was all the smooth talking while dating that got our attention, and promises of "sure, sweetie, I will do all the fix it stuff around the house"..... "I like doing yard work"..... I should have asked sig other to open the tool box and identify the items in the box before he moved in... it's been a few years and he still is baffled how that tool box opens.... and he has yet to take the rake out of the garage.

Can I get a refund?
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Ralph, the thing that jumps out at me is there's no mention in your post of what kind of life you and GF share outside of housekeeping and caregiving. How much time are you setting aside for being a couple? Dates? Vacations?

My SO and I have lived together 6 years, my Dad moved in 6 months ago. Somehow Dad thought that he had a higher standing in the household and more claim to my time than SO. Seemed genuinely baffled (and made a couple very ugly scenes) when I said no that's not how it works. Much as it annoys Dad, we regularly spend time together that does not include him. Took some reinforcing that when the bedroom door is closed we are not to be disturbed unless "it's on fire or bleeding". That when we go out to meetings related to a project we're both involved in, he is not welcome to tag along--and we're likely to stay out for lunch afterwards. (I do include him in some other trips to town, as well as drive him to his appointments.)

Also, as far as housekeeping, are you sure that you and she really agree on what truly needs to be done when? My mom kept a spotless house, so another big adjustment for Dad has been that neither SO nor I consider that a high priority. We share the chores when they do get done, but I made very clear to Dad that if he wants things cleaned more often or thoroughly, he needs to hire (and pay for) a maid service.
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Ya know, as I hit the send button on that last comment I had a bad feeling that I might get battered like poor Ralph, who I think posted this thread. Just sos y'all know, I get it, you're pretty much right about men and the division of labor.

Men of my generation grew up with doting moms that did everything. I don't think I ever made a bed till I was 30. I was lucky, or unlucky depending on your point of view, to usually end up in relationships and marriages, yes plural, with women who did not put up with much of the lazy dude stuff. I was housebroken early on.
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I wonder if all you gals could find a lawyer that gives group discounts? Why'd you marry all these lazy bums? Just sayin..........
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FF, I mentioned to a friend several years ago shortly after my sister died and my father was in a long term care hospital that I was so tired when I got home from driving between 3 homes and the hospital, and began to think perhaps I should have gotten married so I could have a nice home cooked meal. She burst into laughter and said - go to a restaurant! Forget about a husband!
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Once in my life *I* would like a hot meal already for me when *I* come home from the office.... [sigh].

Christine73, my sig other would want a parade so the whole community would know what a swell guy he was for doing his own laundry [1 load of clothes].

In the mean time, I am washing my clothes [2 loads as I separate whites from others]... two sets of sheets for 2 beds, 2 separate loads, and I'm the one dealing with the fitted sheets :P... all the bath/kitchen towels for the week... and the cat blankets/towels for the week. Do I even get a thanks? Nope.

Are we having fun yet? I went on a semi-strike one time, sig other didn't even notice things weren't getting done. Still on-strike with the porch lights, they went out, one a year ago, the other one 6 months ago, waiting to see how quickly sig other offers to replace the bulbs.... come on, light bulbs shouldn't be THAT difficult.
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One more interesting fact. Single women are the longest livers. Followed (in this order) by married men, married women and single men. So by getting married, a man improves his life expectancy while destroying the poor woman's who has now become his "caregiver." Thing is, he will never grow up and leave the house!
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JessieBelle, you can say that again. Women, regardless of how many hours they work an outside job and how many hours they spend taking care of their elderly parent, DO ALMOST EVERYTHING AROUND THE HOUSE!!!! Then, when the husband or SO does some small chore, HE WANTS A MEDAL! Sorry for the rant, I'm a little off today because I haven't had much sleep. Up til 2 doing housework, then up at 7 for my 9-5 job.

OP, my personal opinion is that you're expecting too much of your girlfriend.
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Providing care for a senior or disabled person is a very demanding and difficult job. It's hard to do for immediate family members. I would not expect my boyfriend to help do it. I would hesitate to expect my husband to do it. It's very stressful and I would imagine it would strain the relationship.

The lady is probably burned out. I can relate. Obviously she cares for you and your mother. I would thank her immensely and then decide how to make her life better if the two of you are going to make it long term.
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(((vstefans))) You message made me think of the olden days when women did 90% of the work for 10% of the pay. A lot of times now we end up doing 90% of the work without any pay at all. :-(((

"They" say that women get paid 78 cents for every dollar a man makes... and that's only if they don't include the second job of coming home and doing almost everything.

Hopping up on my feminist stump, no matter how unfashionable it's supposed to be now. "I'll do all the laundry while you go have a beer." Paula Cole said it well.
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Ralph. Probably not the answer you wanted.

Question I just asked at my house of hubby and son: Guys, have you ever just CRIED because you had so much work to do and you were so tired already? My son's answer was to insist we was just kidding about doing the lawn OR his laundry this weekend.

But if your answer is yes, then you may have a point. But unequal workload - commonly much heavier burdens and higher expectations, with far less leisure or even semi-discretionary time for the woman - seems too common and too commonly accepted as a norm. If that's not the case for you I sincerely apologize.

I went for a bike ride Saturday to help with a trails project in a park and do a little shopping errand, and counted on my hubby to get the cat to the vet. Well, he could not "find" the cat carrier which was exactly where I told him it was and he simply rescheduled. No guilt. No angst. I was devastated. The cat did not get taken care of because I was taking care of myself and things that mattered to me. Every day there is an hour or two of just picking up and putting away that the guys could have done instead of sitting around watching wrestling and computer gaming. I work 10 hours a day or more full time to bring in 90% of our income and pay a cleaning service to come in every 3 weeks. THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHY I AM DEPRESSED!!!
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My ex would mow the lawn once or twice a month in summer and burn tree debris in the back yard. He considered that "helping around the house." I had a job and he didn't. It bugged me that he would claim he did things in the house when I knew he didn't. Men of that generation were just spoiled. It really wasn't worth the battle to try to get them to do anything. You either do it yourself or hire a maid. If they had young good-looking men maids, bet some of our old hubbies would been more willing to help.
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Jessie, that is happening in my household now. I should have seen the red flag a few years ago when I was asking for help around the house/yard and was getting no where. So I put together a list of chores which turned to be two pages long, singled space, and asked sig other which of these chores would he help me with... sig other torn up the list and a very loud discussion was had, and nothing was solved. Hello, this isn't the Holiday Inn. And I am not your mother.

I should have knew right then and there this isn't going to work in the long haul, he needs to be a team player instead of sitting on the bench.

And an eye opener as we ourselves age... if something happened to me that not temporary, how is he going to handle it, if at all. He had been spoiled along the way.
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Or it may be that she is just tired of him. After reading what he wrote, I know I would be.
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"Am I being fair?" No

"Am I expecting too much from someone who is supposed to be my significant other?" Yes.

Next question?

Could it be that after your claim that you do the lion's share and she isn't pulling her weight she decided to slack off so you could see what she contributes by showing you what the absence of her contribution feels like?

If you feel like you might as well be there alone, you may very well get to try that out. What woman wants to be valued only for her caregiving contributions? Isn't there anything else you'd miss about her? If not, please be honest with her and say goodbye. If yes, and you really think you love her, please tell her that and agree to work on your relationship, not just carp about whether she took the trash out.
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ralphellis: I hope you don't mind, but I'd say your girlfriend is a "keeper" -- and maybe she would like to be more than just a girlfriend. Sounds like she may be getting a little burned out and not getting anything to show for it. Paying her seems to me like she is like "hired help". If she is just your girlfriend, and is taking such good care in helping you with your mom, maybe it's time to take care of her too! I took care of my mom for many years without much help except from my immediate family. It does wear you down, and takes a lot of mental energy as well as physical energy. Maybe you could get someone to come in a "baby-sit" your mom occasionally, and take your girlfriend out to a nice dinner, or something you both would like to do. It sounds like you both could use a re-charge, and I think it will benefit both of you. Good luck with all of this, and keep us posted as to the progress.
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Dude, did you step into a pit of vipers here! But hey, Ya know what? They're right. Reverse the situation. Would you do all this stuff for her mother? H*ll, I wouldn't do it long term for my own mother. When it gets to that level we'll be discussing assisted living. I'm a guy BTW. Take a hard look at this if this gal is someone you want to keep around.
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Maybe in the words of Beyonce she is waiting for you to "put a ring on it"

Excuse my pop culture quote :)
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Maybe your "lion's share" is too much like a real lion...laying about "protecting" the pride while the lionesses go hunting. Or maybe not. But clearly enough, she's mad as h*ll at you, she does not think you are pulling your fair share, and you are headed for a breakup if you don't get some counseling to help sort things out.
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If you continue to pay GF a stipend from mom's funds, you'd be well- advised to set up a legal caregiving contract so that this doesn't look like "gifting" down the road. You never know when you might end up having to apply for Medicaid.
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Your girlfriend bathes your mother? She does the shopping? Some of the meal prep? She gets a 'stipend', not $20 to $25 dollars an hour that a person from an agency would charge?

It sounds as though perhaps your girlfriend grew a backbone, sir.
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I'll be a little bit more blunt. I think you have been taking advantage of your GF, even if she's spending a lot of time in the home. Since she's not living there completely, she apparently has her own home or apartment. And she has obligations there.

After 3 years of caring for someone's mother, I'd get my walking stick and leave.

It's difficult and offensive enough when a married man expects his wife to compromise to take care of his parent(s), but when someone who's your SO, that just seems so arbitrary and exploitive to me.

To put it another way, what are you doing for her?

And what exactly are you doing for your mother?

The Cinderella days are gone.

I find your attitude difficult to believe. No wonder your GF is backing off.
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Wash an iron curtains? People do that? FF, your message made me tired just thinking of doing all those things. I feel good if I clean the bathroom and kitchen.

Sorry to hijack the thread. I'll go away now. I have to ponder buying some new curtains so I won't need to wash the ones that are hanging.
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ralphellis, here's one thing to try... you make a list of all the things you do around the house.... have your girlfriend make a list of all the things she does around the house.... I bet her list is x4 as long as yours.

Women tend not to announce "I washed and ironed all the curtains", that chore gets done quietly and some men forget that is even a chore that happens every few months. Same with other behind the scene time consuming chores such as chasing cobwebs, dusting picture frames, cleaning the floorboards, vacuuming the stairs, washing the basement floor, cleaning the washer/dryer [yep], washing the windows, polishing the furniture [more than just dusting], dusting the light bulbs in lamps, etc... these things don't clean themselves but are overlooked by most men [not all].
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Personally, I can't IMAGINE why a girlfriend wouldn't want to care for your elderly mom for years on end.

Maybe you two need to sit down and clarify not only your roles but your relationship. Ya' think?
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Sounds like you may soon be doing it all alone. Have you told your GF that you are thankful for her help.. or just pointed out the problems? It is not her Mom, and you are not married...so she may feel a bit taken advantage of.. A GF is not a fiancee, have you been clear about the future plans? Maybe she is feeling like unpaid help, even though you do pay her...
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